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Preview: Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #8

Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #8

Written by: Kami Garcia
Art by: Mico Suayan, Jason Badower

Ready or not, Harley Quinn is in a race against time to end The Joker’s reign of terror. Can she do it before he wreaks havoc in the Gotham Arena…and kills thousands of music fans attending the Event Horizon concert? More importantly, will she do it without ending The Joker’s life-or can she live with the consequences either way?

Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #8

Around the Tubes

WonderCon was this past weekend. Did anyone watch the virtual event? What’d you enjoy? Sound off in the comments below. While your day begins, here’s a bunch of reviews from around the web.

Good Men Project – A House Without Windows
Polygon – Alien #1
Laughing Place – Alien #1
ICv2 – Allergic
Screenrant – Harley Quinn #1
Collected Editions – Red Hood: Outlaw Vol. 4: Unspoken Truths
Laughing Place – Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #8

Alien #1

Around the Tubes

Alien #1

The weekend is almost here! What geeky things will you all be doing? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for the weekday to end and the weekend to begin, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

The Beat – More on how Penguin Random House will distribute Marvel comics – and what it means – For those that want more on what the Marvel move the Penguin Random House means.

How to Love Comics – How To Start Reading The Invincible Comic – For those who discover the animated series and want to find out!

Book Riot – 10 of the Best Gay Comic Books – What would make your list?

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: DRUGS & WIRES is a singular Cyberpunk vision – Free comics!

Reviews

Laughing Place – Alien #1
Screenrant – Harley Quinn #1
Laughing Place – Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #8

Review: Harley Quinn #1

Harley Quinn #1

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Harley Quinn. I always felt the character was more interesting (for me) as part of an ensemble and not the center spotlight. I’m also not a fan of the more slapstick take, instead, I like the bit more goofy but very intelligent version that’s torn between different worlds. DC Future State delivered a take I hadn’t seen before, focused on her background as a psychiatrist as she took on Gotham’s worst. She still delivered laughs and a bit of manic self and very interesting insight into others. Harley Quinn #1 kicks off a new volume for the character set back in the present and a Harley who’s attempting to make amends for her past misdeeds.

Stephanie Phillips continues to guide Harley on her adventures giving us a character who’s still a bit out there but also one you can relate to a lot more. Harley has made mistakes, being the sidekick to a mass-murderer will do that. She now has a clean slate due to her work with the Suicide Squad and she wants to make things right. But where to start?

Phillips gives us a Harley with a mission. She has a clear focus now and it’s not random adventures. She wants to do the right thing but she’s not completely sure how to go about that. She’ll also need to face her past. It’s a solid direction for the character who has been an anti-hero for so long after her villain roots. Harley Quinn #1 has the character really making her “face” turn as she attempts to be a hero. And to me, that’s really interesting.

The debut issue has Batman who is rather skeptical of her abilities and intent. She has to now deal with not having income as a hero (this seems to be a popular topic lately). She’s starting over. Harley Quinn #1 is a woman who has finally broken away from an abusive relationship and life and is starting over. There’s a lot of potential in that. Most importantly, it entertains too.

Riley Rossmo helps deliver a kinetic punch to Phillips story through the art. It’s in Rossmo’s distinctive style with color by Ivan Plascencia and lettering by Deron Bennett. Rossmo’s art is perfect for the character as it captures the energy she has. It matches her energetic personality. The colors pop adding to it all and Bennett’s lettering often delivers the punchline in dialogue delivery. The trio come together to capture and create the feel of the comic and character. It’s a perfect mix of humor, action, and some more grounded emotional moments. You get the sense of the highs and lows of Harley throughout.

Harley Quinn #1 is the first Harley comic that has me hooked in to really check out what’s next. I like Phillips’ take on the character and mixed with the art, it has a fun punch to it all. It’s a fresh start for the character and is a solid jumping-on point for new readers and a pivot point for long-time fans.

Story: Stephanie Phillips Art: Riley Rossmo
Color: Ivan Plascencia Letterer: Deron Bennett
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

The Recount #3

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Alien #1 (Marvel) – The classic property comes to Marvel! The publisher has done amazing stuff when it comes to expanding the world of Star Wars and we’re hoping for the same here.

Allergic (Graphix) – Maggie wants a pet to play with. Unfortunately, she’s allergic to anything with fur!

Carnage: Black, White, and Blood #1 (Marvel) – The various “color” comics coming out have been solid and we’re excited to check out a new one.

Harley Quinn #1 (DC Comics) – A new volume kicking off from Future State. That mini-event had a great take on the character and we’re hoping this continues that direction.

Morrison Hotel (Z2 Comics) – The influential band gets an anthology focused on their impact and the lore about them.

Rabid World #1 (Scout Comics) – A rabies-like disease has broken out around the world. This is a story of two couples, one trying to survive and the other trying to save the world.

The Recount #3 (Scout Comics) – The series has been amazing so far following the follow out of a corrupt President and those rising up to exact vengeance against anyone that supported him.

Shadow Doctor #2 (AfterShock) – The true story about a Black doctor in the 1930s who turned to the mob to get the money he needed to start a practice.

Stray Dogs #2 (Image Comics) – The first issue was fantastic. A small dog winds up in a new home not knowing how they got there. Flashes of their former life hint at murder. It’s an interesting series, a noir murder mystery from the perspective of a dog.

Teen Titans Academy #1 (DC Comics) – The Teen Titans decide to train and teach the next generation of heroes. But, we know the possible deadly future that is ahead for them.

Preview: Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #6

Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #6

Written by: Katana Collins, Sean Gordon Murphy
Art by: Matteo Scalera

Gotham City’s fate hangs in the balance in this conclusion to Harley Quinn’s quest to catch a serial killer!

Harley knew the risks when she agreed to help the GTO capture Gotham’s most savage new criminals and all her fears have come to pass. Her pursuit of Starlet and the Producer has magnified the overwhelming responsibilities of motherhood, endangered her life and loved ones and forced her to revisit the most painful memories of her own criminal past.

Now, on the eve of Starlet’s final spectacular act at the Gotham Film Festival, the case has become personal. As Harley grieves a shocking personal loss, she prepares to risk everything to prove she can deliver on her commitments and bring the case to a close. With one final assist from Bruce, Harley heads to center stage for a showdown that will make or break Gotham’s future—and determine Harley’s role within it.

Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #6

Preview: Harley Quinn #1

Harley Quinn #1

Written by: Stephanie Nicole Phillips
Art by: Riley Rossmo

Ahem! You better read this closely, ’cause we’ve got a red-hot relaunch on our hands here—and I should know! Harley Quinn here to let everyone know that I got a brand-new monthly series here with a brand-new status quo. I’m coming back to Gotham City to make up for the sins of my past and help the city recover from “The Joker War”! But there’s no welcoming committee waiting for me, your favorite Maid of Mischief! And between you and me, some real creeps are working to keep the city broken. We can’t let that happen, can we? Rising-star writer Stephanie Phillips, my new partner in crime, takes me into a bold new era with her partner in artistic crime Riley Rossmo, who I gotta say designed a real nice new costume for me. You’re not gonna wanna miss this one, folks!

Harley Quinn #1

Review: Batman: Urban Legends #1

Batman: Urban Legends #1

As seen in The Lego Batman Movie, the Arkham video games, and the Batman comics of the 1990s and early 2000s, Batman’s strength is in the world and characters that he creates access to. Whether that’s his allies, villains, nooks and crannies of Gotham, or even police officers that he either works with or against, these personalities and settings are why I continue to return to the Batman side of the DC Universe. The creators of Batman: Urban Legends #1 understand this and flesh out different Batman-adjacent characters and even sometimes explore their relationship to the Dark Knight while also telling action, romance, and crime stories.

First up in this Gotham-themed anthology is the beginning of a six part Batman and Red Hood serial where Batman and his former protege-turned-killer vigilante (He’s switched to rubber bullets for the moment.) investigate a source of a hallucinatory street drug tackily called Cheerdrops. Writer Chip Zdarsky has a firm grasp on Jason Todd’s voice, including the darkness inside his soul and his hunger for justice, especially for Gotham’s beleaguered working class. Artists Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira and colorist Adriano Lucas nail the grit of the city with explosive linework and jagged layouts to go with a color palette that has had all the light sucked out of it. However, Excalibur’s Marcus To does the art in the flashbacks, which features brighter colors as well as simpler, cleaner lines with a more traditional superhero feel even though one of the scenes is set during “Under the Red Hood” when Jason Todd came back from the dead and started killing criminals.

“Batman and Red Hood” is also a study in contrasts in how two very different crime fighters deal with the same crisis. Batman is the World’s Greatest Detective and is super methodical with Barrows and Ferreria drawing him looking at the chemical makeup of Cheerdrops CSI-style, and his All-Star Superman-esque moment with a jumper is less feel-good and more evidence collection. On the other hand, Jason fights crime with his guts and heart and even admits in a wry line from Zdarsky that he’s not a great detective as he struggles to find a Cheerdrop stash house. However, he does find a boy named Tyler, and of course, Jason is great with kids and even lets him wear part of his mask while he looks for his dad in a dodgy part of Gotham. Zdarsky, Barrows, and Ferreira create something truly heartwarming between Jason Todd and Tyler.

There’s a throughline between this and the flashbacks where Batman (Portrayed as more of an action figure than man by To) struggles being a father figure to Jason, and Alfred does the job perfectly because he sees him as a human being and not an obstacle in his war on crime. Chip Zdarsky writes Alfred Pennyworth as the perfect parent to the Bat-family, who isn’t afraid to tell Batman that he’s full of shit and chooses compassion over a closed fist. And speaking of Batman, I love how Zdarsky doesn’t give him an inner monologue and depicts him more as a force of nature than a gun toting, broken man like Jason Todd, who agonizes over every decision and whose interaction with Tyler bring back memories of his mom who died of a drug overdose. Also, he’s not afraid to go a little dark, and Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira jagged layouts and emotional poses are along for the ride.

Batman: Urban Legends #1

The second story in Batman: Urban Legends #1 is an eight page Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy one-off from writer Stephanie Phillips, artist Laura Braga, and colorist Ivan Plascencia. Plascencia is this story’s secret weapon that shows the happy, hilarious times of Harley and Ivy’s first dates and the bleak current times for Harley as she has moved back to Gotham in her solo title and as a recurring character in Batman. Braga’s art is expressive and high energy for both the good times (Harley and Ivy smooching and snapping selfies) and bad times (A sudden bolt of lightning shattering their pictures), and she is a good fit for a story that isn’t centered around a heist or fight against a superhero, but a relationship. She and Phillips tap into the depth of feelings that Harley has for Ivy, and through some handy plant symbolism, they create hope for the relationship that has become very popular for fans in the past decade. “Harley and Ivy” is a nice, nearly slice of life oasis in the midst of the three other stories, which have more moving parts.

The third story in this comic is a 10 page “Outsiders” feature by Brandon Thomas, Max Dunbar, and Luis Guerrero starring Black Lightning, Katana, and an interesting take on Metamorpho. Thomas turns in kind of a mystery plot with the story starting with Black Lightning and an unseen Metamorpho in a Japanese prison before cutting to a bonkers, two page spread of a speedboat chase. Unlike the previous two stories in Batman: Urban Legends #1, Thomas and Dunbar go for a action over character focus, and honestly, I’m here for it. Dunbar uses arrows from their pursuers to act as eye-lines to follow the high speed chase, and he and Thomas have a clever moment or two up their sleeve, especially in regards to Metamorpho’s first appearance. The story isn’t particularly deep, but it has the vibe of a James Bond cold open with superpowers as Guerrero really makes Black Lightning’s abilities sizzle. Finally, Brandon Thomas’ plotting really kept me engaged with thinking about why characters were acting a certain way, and the the mini mystery box structure has me intrigued for the upcoming issue.

Batman: Urban Legends #1

Grifter is a character I didn’t really know a lot about except for some random comics like the New 52 Team 7 and JLA/WildCATs, but Matthew Rosenberg, Ryan Benjamin, and Antonio Fabela have made this anti-hero/rapscallion and his various pratfalls quite lovable and hilarious Batman: Urban Legends #1’s final story. Grifter is like that guy who bluffs at poker, but never has a good hand. And until maybe the penultimate page of the comic, he’s either screwing up or making a joke about it beginning with his mad rush towards supervillain fire during his Team 6 days with a lot of characters with familiar names from Wildstorm comics. (I’m not an expert on these characters, and you don’t have to be to enjoy the story.) Grifter uses his sense of humor to detract from his mediocre performance as Lucius Fox’s bodyguard or to avoid getting his ass kicked by Batman, but he also has a mystery side that is revealed when he has a “date” at one of Penguin’s bars. The mystery starts to really unfold towards the end of the comic, but Rosenberg hints at every time, he talks on a headset with what I assume is his older brother.

The comedy in “Grifter” isn’t just limited to Matthew Rosenberg’s delightfully smartass dialogue. It shows up a lot in Ryan Benjamin’s visuals, which range from G.I. Joe or Authority homages (When the superheroes clean up Team 6’s mess.) in the flashback to pure slapstick. For example, Grifter spills a drink at a party Lucius Fox is meeting a client at and spills a drink on a woman. In this situation, Benjamin doesn’t just show a simple facial expression, but throws in some growlixes and makes you know that she’s furious that the soaking wet guy in Converse and blue jeans is even in the same room with her. This playfulness extends to the fight between Batman and Grifter, which starts as a serious throwdown and ends up in a total cat and mouse situation with Grifter finally getting enough self-awareness to call it quits. However, their paths will cross, and you can tell that Batman understands he’s a wildcard with his connections to Lucius Fox, the criminal underworld, and probably those Wildstorm guys. All in all, Matthew Rosenberg, Ryan Benjamin, and Antonio Fabela turn in a hilarious action-comedy set in DC’s weirdest and (sometimes) dourest city and also slowly unveil what seems to be a master plan to merge the worlds of Wildstorm and Gotham.

Batman: Urban Legends #1 is an absolute win for the anthology format that DC Comics has been trying out with all of the four stories in the comic being entertaining and shedding light on a unique cast of characters. The longer stories that bookend the comic are especially noteworthy thanks to Chip Zdarsky’s pitch-perfect handle on the fascinating character of Jason Todd in “Batman and Red Hood” and Matthew Rosenberg and Ryan Benjamin’s skill with verbal and visual humor in “Grifter”.

Story: Chip Zdarsky, Stephanie Phillips, Brandon Thomas, Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Marcus To, Laura Braga, Max Dunbar, Ryan Benjamin
Colors: Adriano Lucas, Ivan Plascencia, Luis Guerrero, Antonio Fabela
Letters: Becca Carey, Deron Bennett, Steve Wands, Saida Temofonte
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Diamond Select Toys On Sale Now: Doctor Doom, Miles Morales, and More!

It’s a big week for busts and statues, as five new resin items hit comic shops courtesy of Diamond Select Toys! Busts of Harley Quinn, Wolverine and Miles Morales, plus statues of Doctor Doom and Old Man Logan, arrive in stores today and start hitting online retailers shortly!

Legends in 3D Animation Batman TAS Harley Quinn 1/2 Scale Bust

A Diamond Select Toys Release! It’s time to rev up your Harley! The Legends in 3D line of half-scale busts continues with the next in a sequence based on Batman: The Animated Series – Harley Quinn! The Maiden of Mirth measures approximately 10 inches tall atop her circus pedestal, is limited to only 1,000 pieces and comes packaged in a full-color box with a hand-numbered certificate of authenticity. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Varner Studios. (Item # JUL201913, SRP: $175.00)

Legends in 3D Comic Wolverine 1/2 Scale Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! He’s the best there is at what he does, and he’s a Legend in 3D! This half-scale bust of Wolverine is based on his appearance in Marvel Comics, and measures approximately 10 inches tall. Featuring detailed sculpting and paint applications, he is limited to only 1,000 pieces, and comes packaged in a full-color box with a numbered certificate of authenticity. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Rocco Tartamella. (Item # AUG202099, SRP: $175.00)

Marvel Animated-Style Doctor Doom Statue

A Diamond Select Toys Release! Doctor Doom returns! Based on the variant cover artwork of Marvel Comics, this statue of the Latverian monarch depicts him in a pensive pose, perhaps debating which of his adorable attacks to unleash on an unsuspecting foe. Measuring approximately 5” tall, this statue features detailed sculpting and paint applications and comes packaged in a full-color box with a certificate of authenticity. Sculpted by Paul Harding. (Item: # JUL201915, SRP: $49.99)

Marvel Comic Miles Morales Spider-Man Mini-Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! Preparing to fire double web lines and launch himself into the fray, this 1/6 scale resin bust of Miles Morales is ready for action! Measuring approximately 7 inches tall, it features detailed sculpting and paint applications and is limited to only 3,000 pieces. It comes packaged in a full-color box with a certificate of authenticity. Sculpted by Joe Menna. (Item #AUG202101, SRP: $99.99)

Marvel Comic Premier Collection Old Man Logan Statue

A Diamond Select Toys Release! Wolverine gets older and better in this new Premier Collection statue of the Canadian X-Man! With one set of claws popped, Logan sizes up his opponent as an approximately 9” tall statue, featuring detailed sculpting and paint applications. Limited to only 3,000 pieces, it comes packaged in a full-color box with a numbered certificate of authenticity. Designed by Shawn Knapp, sculpted by Mat Brouillard. (Item # JUL201914, SRP: $175.00)

Preview: Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #5

Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #5

Written by: Katana Collins
Art by: Matteo Scalera
Color: Dave Stewart

The Producer’s scheme is in motion, and the GTO is on high alert as Gotham’s hope of a peaceful new horizon begins to collapse. Rattled and recovering from a close encounter with Starlet, Harley examines whether her complicated past with villainy is a burden or a boon to her new identity. She weighs two final options: break all ties and retire to a quiet life, or embrace the chaos, risk, and responsibility of protecting the people and the place that created her. The choice itself may be fantasy, as a targeted attack on Harley ends in tragedy and drives Bruce to a reckless decision that could extend his prison sentence indefinitely.

Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #5
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